For my father intelligence was all that
matters. Ever since my brother Charles was
diagnosed to be a gifted child all he talked about were IQ and intelligence
research. W high IQ apparently strongly predicts good grades, a good career, and
even health and mortality and stuff. His favorite story is Kim Ung-Yong a Korean
with an official IQ of 210. Just six months old he was already speaking
fluent Korean and at age 3 wrote essays in German and English. Then he would hug
Charles and look at me with this question in his face. I hated that I
wondered if I could reach my little brother in anything? When I was young me
and my dad were best buddies. He never even cared much about IQ or G
or whatever. When my brother started reading at just 2 years old everything
changed. Suddenly I was forgotten and soon after I was the slow one. Once when
I got a C in math he didn’t even look at my paper and just told Charles that an
ape is believed to have an IQ of 40. I hated his sarcasm. Once at dinner when he
started talking about intelligence or “G” he’d say – G stands for general
intelligence and scientists say it exists because apparently most IQ tests
correlate – whatever – he was talking about it and then drew up this graph on
a piece of paper saying: “look boy this is the distribution of intelligence of all
people in town 0.1% of people will have an IQ of 55 or below, 2% have an IQ
between 55 to 70, 14% between 70 and 85, 34% will score between 85 and the
average which is set at a hundred. Thirty-four have an IQ between 100 and
115 and 14% between 115 to 132. 2% have an IQ higher than 130 and only 0.1%
will have an IQ of a genius of 145 or above, like your little brother.” I told
him I’m not interested. I guess I shouldn’t have. He exploded “Not
interested? Do you know what this all means boy?” He turned the paper around and
started all over: “It means that if you take 1,000 people then one has some
form of mental retardation, which means trouble living
alone. 20 will have difficulty reading the map. 140 can perform simple tasks at
work but cannot qualify to become a soldier in the US Army. 340 probably
finished high school and another 340 will go to college. Maybe 140 can do a
Ph.D. and later work as surgeons. 20 are capable of producing a significant
scientific work and only one will make it into an Ivy League college like MIT
where the average IQ is 145. Your little brother got an IQ higher than that!”
A few weeks later was career day at my school. Some people in suits showed up
and told us about a new form of cognitive assessment we could be doing
which would help us find the right job. The technical term is the Wechsler IQ
score. When I heard the words IQ I got completely sweaty hands my heart started
racing. This could be the moment of truth. Then one woman started speaking. She told
us that we are now going to take a test and just 1 week later we all get the
results with some specific ideas about our future career path. She said it takes
only 90 minutes and measures our intelligence in the following four areas:
perceptual reasoning, verbal comprehension, working memory and
processing speed. The assessment was voluntary and my friend instantly stood
up to leave the class, showing what he thought about this whole thing. My
heart still racing I wasn’t sure what to do and kept seated. Our teacher then
handed out some questions, when she passed by my table she simply said:
“you gonna do fine here”. I don’t think she realized this but I was so happy to
hear her say that! Maybe I’m not all that bad at these stupid IQ tests? Maybe it’s
a day that I can actually show my dad who I really am? What shall I do? I was so
ready to show my dad that I’m no idiot, I decided to stay.
I turned the first page over it read the following: perceptual reasoning is the
ability to think and reason with visual information. It is the ability to see
what is being asked and to organize information in our heads through images.
The first question was: When folded into a cube, which of the following corners
would touch corner A? D, B, E or C? I tried to fold the cube in my head and – yeah it
worked! It must be “D”. The second section was
about working memory: our ability to keep several chunks of information in our
mind simultaneously. One of the questions was: what is the next number in the
series: 4, 12, 6, 9, 8, 6 ? There were four options: 6, 5, 10 or 12 The trick here was to put all the digits in my head and look for a pattern:
4 X 6 X 8 X which means the next would be 10! The third section was verbal
comprehension, which measures our ability to access vocabulary, express ourselves
in a meaningful manner and apply reasoning skills to information
presented verbally. In the first question it said: what is the difference
between the words “refuted” an “irrefutable”? Do they have similar meanings, have
contradicting meanings or mean neither the same nor the opposite? They must have
contradicting meanings! The fourth section was about processing speed: the
pace at which we take in new information and make sense of it in order to prepare
a response. One of the questions asked was: what is the 12th letter of the
alphabet is it: T, L, R or B? I realized I had to rule out all the options that
didn’t look right, counting would have taken way too long, L
is the right answer! I had completed all of the 50 questions in time and I was
very relieved. In the end, the woman said: “A lot of research over the last century
went into the IQ test we had just taken and there is convincing evidence that
our intelligence is mainly a product of our genes. There is an estimate of a
heritability range from 50% to 90% although the environment also
matters,” she continued: “especially negative
influences during your childhood like infectious disease, malnutrition, air
pollution, or led in the paint of your walls at home. These things can reduce
your IQ forever.” She explained that it’s because during the prenatal period and
early years of life a child’s brain consumes a huge part of the body’s
energy to grow, and if the body was under attack it cannot support the brain’s
growth to its full potential. In other words you were born with a pretty fixed
IQ. Good parents and schools can keep the IQ at its genetically predefined level
and maybe increase it a bit, negative influences, however, can surely reduce it
a lot. “I am just saying this” she closed “because if you are getting your results
next week and you are not happy with your score or our recommendation, then
know, that there is little you can do about that. Even if you practice for
years or continue school indefinitely, it’s almost impossible to improve your
score by more than 10 points. Just think about that before you open that envelope.
You don’t have to.” When the envelope was handed to me a week later I got excited
to open it. I took a deep breath, but before I ripped the cover apart I halted-
do I really want this? Why do I care so much? Do I really want to compete with my
brother? And if so what does this prove? There are so many aspects of my life
that matter more than my measured intelligence. I’m probably no genius but
I know I did well. But more importantly I know that I don’t need to prove anything
to anyone! I decided not to open the envelope and I loved this new idea of
myself – free from these limitations! I felt like I had grown up. Now when I
heard my father speak all proud about Charles, I just smiled. I realized that
it’s not that he loved him more, no my brother just gave my dad the chance to
get attention, to be someone. He’s the dad of a genius and not just another middle
manager at the bank on middle street. A few years later I dropped out of
college and started my own company and soon after fell in love with a wonderful
woman and also started a family. My brother is now a professor at a famous
university, but never found the right girl and like many very smart people
suffers from depressions. My dad doesn’t care so much about IQ
anymore, he’s now a proud grandfather. They say it takes intelligence to know
how to do things right but wisdom to do the right thing. Leaving that envelope
closed was the best decision of my life! Here are five questions from a real IQ
test, you’ve got five seconds each. When you are done post your answers in the
comments: Good luck! 1. A package of gift cards has a length
of eight centimeters a width of four centimeters and a volume of 64
centimeters cubed. What is the height of the box? 2. Some Bargles are Chongos
and some Chongos are Munhattsens. Are some Bargles definitely Munhattsens?
Yes or No? 3. Max needed to get seven new doors from the home improvement
store for his house. His car could only hold two doors at once.
How many times did max have to visit the store? 2, 4, 7, 8 or 9? 4. Art is to wall as cup is to: handle,
coffee, cupboard, rim, nail? 5. what is the missing number in the series: 1, 16, 81
blank 625, 1296? If you like this video and the way we
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